Last Monday afternoon I travelled up to Glasgow by train. The journey took 3 hours. It might have taken longer had the snow promised on the BBC Weather Report materialised. Glasgow was bustling when I arrived, with big fat rain drops punching me in the face on the walk from the station to the hotel. I was there for a Council of Deans of Health Executive meeting and this years AGM.
The first presentation of the AGM was the inspirational Liz Robb. She is the Chief Executive of the Florence Nightingale Foundation. The purpose of the foundation is to keep alive the spirit of Florence Nightingale, who died 104 years ago, by investing in leadership development for nurses and midwives. Their leadership programmes involve impressive partners in the UK and in the US, including Harvard University.
The evening before I had enjoyed dinner with Liz, and also sitting at the table was my old friend Sue Bernhuaser OBE (former Chair of the Council of Deans, and now retired) and the Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland, Ros Moore. Her old school motto 'learn to be free' seemed an apt appellation to describe the work she is leading on in developing the future nursing workforce in Scotland. Whilst the meal was a lazy man’s version of vegetarianism, (haggis, neeps and tatties minus the haggis) the conversation was a great fillip.
Haggis, neeps and tatties, is often the meal choice on Burns Nights parties. Such Burns suppers usually held on or around the 25th January, to celebrate the life of Roberts Burns, author of many Scots poems. Strangely, when the Scots say 'neeps' what they mean is turnip (tur-neep). However what the Scots call a turnip is what the English call a swede.
And last Friday saw another ‘turn of the year’ celebration. This was the Chinese New Year which marked the start of the Year of the Wood Horse. Feng shui experts have declared that the Year of the Horse could bring startling changes to the world. According to Alion Yeo, feng shui Master, as well as an increase in natural disasters, there will be lots of scandals, conflicts, explosions and arguments over the next 12 months. For some this might be business as usual, but for others this might be a new experience.
Feng shui literately means 'wind – water', and for many people in the UK, the wind and water has this year already resulted in disastrous changes to their everyday lives. Those living on the Somerset Plain are still marooned in their homes and villages by the 'turn of the year' floods. Friday night I drove back up to the House in Scotland to what the BBC Weather Report had advised was going to be a snow clad landscape. There was no snow, but there was plenty of rain.